When I was in college, every day was a juggling act. With a full class load, a full-time job and the desire for a social life, there were many balls in the air. Sometimes I would drop them all. On purpose. I would leave my pj’s on all day, bake some cookies and watch hours worth of sappy Lifetime movies. It was a practice my roommates adopted and soon became known as a “Stay-at-Home-Day.” It was a day full of nothing. And it was perfect.
Fast forward a few years (ahem, many years) and my life is crazy busy. We shuttle kids to dance and soccer and gymnastics and play dates and church activities and swim lessons and school functions. Mix in all the parent activities and our days are packed and my head is spinning. We have a schedule. We have a routine. And that is how we make sense of the madness. My family loves to be busy, but sometimes it just becomes overwhelming. I know when we’ve reached that point when my daughters begin asking for a “Stay-at-Home-Day.” It’s one of my favorite traditions I’ve passed on to them.
A “Stay-at-Home-Day” is just that: a day you do not leave the house. Cancel everything you have planned; plans are not allowed on a “Stay-at-Home-Day.” There are no crafts planned, no menu planned for dinner and schedules are forbidden. Watch TV or don’t. Bake 3 different versions of chocolate chip cookies or don’t. Make 100 snowflakes and tape them all over your house or don’t. There might be naps. There might be breakfast for dinner. There might be the largest pillow fort ever created. The possibilities of what might be are endless and are never set in stone. But I do know what is concrete about a “Stay-at-Home-Day”:
You won’t spend a dime. You won’t be tempted to hit up the McDonald’s drive-thru because you forgot to eat lunch. You won’t have the opportunity to overspend at the grocery store because you won’t be near one. You won’t have buyers remorse because you caved and bought those boots you had been eying in the department store window.
And do you want to know the biggest “won’t?” You won’t regret it.
The days I set aside the Blackberry, unplug the computer and pause my worldly obligations are the best days. Distraction free, I actually hear my children. When they yank on my arm, eager to share their latest masterpiece, I have nothing pulling me in the other direction, so I follow. Wherever they lead me. Our “Stay-at-Home-Days” are filled with laughter. A lot of laughter. And they produce the best memories.
And that my friends is better than frugal. Even better than free. That is priceless.